Square Enix To Shift Away From Social Games

March 6th, 2013 by Tony Garsow

airbornebrigade

For the last year or so, Square Enix has announced several social titles for the existing brands — including titles like Bravely Default: Praying Brage and Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade. Other titles include Guardian Cross and Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, which feature a specific style of gaming that was popularized in Japan called “gashapon”. These games generally have design decisions that funnel a player’s attention towards micro-transactions to continue playing the game, as well as other design aesthetics.

Well according to Square Enix’s Takehiro Ando, who serves as an producer for the company’s mobile/social gaming division, this is going by the wayside. NeoGAF member Goli translates Ando’s post from the Famitsu App called Smartphone Game ★ Revolution:

“Anyway, today’s entry is called “Good bye, social games. In it he discusses how since the release of SE’s first social game, Knights of the Crystals, many other similar, or in some cases, identical games have appeared and taken over the mobile gaming platforms, which has led to basically everything being a reskinned version of other games, specially the ones that involve card collecting and gacha.

He admits SE is also guilty of this, since they have a lot of games that follow this pattern like Circle of Mana (which came out yesterday), Guardian Cross, Million Arthur, etc. While these kinds of “games” have drawn in a lot of new gamers, the old gamers, the ones used to console and handheld games, are being shunned, which is why this year they’re planning on not releasing social games and instead release high quality games that appeal to “hardcore” gamers.”

What does this mean for Final Fantasy fans? Well, there’s a lot one could draw from an appeal to the “hardcore audience”, but it may be reasonable to conclude that Square Enix is renewing its focus to strengthen its core Japanese brands. At the end of his message, Ando mentions towards the end of this year, Square Enix Japan will be releasing many high quality titles in succession that have been developed in-studio.

Currently, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is projected to release by summer and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is scheduled for this fall. It has led some to speculate that other titles that have yet to be announced our updated recently (Okay, I’ll just say the V-word: Versus) may be coming sooner than we think. But: to clarify — this could mean titles that are more akin to what we expect from consoles and handhelds; this isn’t indicative of a platform jump or just a focus on console AAA titles.

Do you appreciate this new approach from Square Enix or would you rather see more social titles in the future? What big new games do you foresee coming in the future from Square Enix Japan? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!

Via: Goli (NeoGAF)
Source: (Famitsu) Smartphone Game ★ Revolution

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  • Gexus

    Is there a single person on this planet who would prefer more social titles instead of console titles?

  • Tony Garsow

    Some… really really social guy?

  • VegnaLesca

    omg omg omg versus is coming. I just know. and they need to release it as soon as possible if they still want to work on KH3 on time for it to be released on PS3. with all this and lightning returns, if squarenix plays their cards right, 2013/2014 could easily become one of their best years in a long time.

  • Steven

    Does that mean that
    Spring = Kingdom Heart 1.5 Remix
    Summer = Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
    Fall = Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
    Holiday = Final Fantasy Versus XIII or Final Fantasy X HD
    Spring 2014: Final Fantasy Versus XIII or Final Fantasy X HD

    (Japan or Worldwide Release)

  • alexsam

    Interesting developments. While in all fairness it was reasonable for Sqaure-Enix to go out there and make an effort in the android/social network gaming arena, since it is the market of the future and pretty soon that’s where all the gaming will be held at, it took them a lot of time. Time that might have indeed been better spent on getting these high-profile games out there sooner. Square-Enix took a gamble in this area and they lost, for the time being. It was too primitive since the core of the gamers still use consoles for their games. No one’s going to give up on FF XIII to play FF Airborne Brigade. Despite this, I think it was more of a “put my feet in the water before I dive” kinda move. Even though they went a bit too far, especially with All The Bravest. Anyway, there’s still time for these kind of games and I’m confident they’ll be back for more.

    Square-Enix have a lot on their plate and they know it. Having to deal with the whole XIV fiasco really made them change their gameplan. Creating titles that were never meant to be created in order to please the general public and keep the franchise alive (XIII-2, LR), delaying the release of others (ARR, Versus, Type-0, X:HD), things haven’t been going quite according to plan. But I think this year’s E3 will be very interesting for the franchise. It might even revitalize it!

  • Tony Garsow

    @Steven
    Let’s not be too hasty. ;P

  • hutch

    Bring in the the post 13 & 14 FF REVIVAL!!!!!!!!!!

  • hutch

    *on. D’OH!

  • maggosh

    “Good bye, social games. In it he discusses how since the release of SE’s first social game, Knights of the Crystals, many other similar, or in some cases, identical games have appeared and taken over the mobile gaming platforms, which has led to basically everything being a reskinned version of other games, specially the ones that involve card collecting and gacha.
    He admits SE is also guilty of this, since they have a lot of games that follow this pattern like Circle of Mana (which came out yesterday), Guardian Cross, Million Arthur, etc. While these kinds of “ seems like a lengthy title to me.

  • Stephen

    Pretty sure this is just their mobile division strategy and totally separate from the rest of SE.

  • TheBadass

    Good news. Hopefully this means FF Versus XIII will be at TGS 2013 and release sometime in 2014.

  • AntagonistGB

    Thank God. This announcement was long overdue. Now give us Bravely Default, we’ll call it even

  • UndeadNecroMage

    Oh god yes. Less crappy spinoff titles, more intense, engrossing, social-life robbing RPG goodness.
    Article should’ve been titled ‘SE sees the light’.

  • Pingback: Square Enix: “Goodbye Social Games”

  • AnimaMagna

    I’m foreseeing a strong couple of years for Square Enix following this, and some other rumors and pieces of speculation that have been going round. Oh, yes. I’m rubbing my hands in reasonable expectation.

  • DV

    I’m thinking the social game market is about to crash as well.